Worries over rise of assaults in the home
The charities warn that perpetrators will use the isolation period as a “tool of coercive and controlling behaviour”, and that women and children are consistently more vulnerable during periods of societal stress.
The latest Home Office data shows Greater Manchester Police recorded 33,398 domestic abuse-related incidents in 2018-19.This was a rise of 5% on the year before.
Across England and Wales, 571,000 incidents were recorded last year, including both where a crime was recorded by police and where it was decided no specific crime had been committed.
Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK, said many incidents of domestic abuse are not reported and that isolation will cause a spike, as seen during other times of societal stress.
She added: “This is even before we factor in those instances where the victim will have told no-one.
“Women and children are consistently more vulnerable as the targets of violence in these situations, and now as many women will be struggling to find work and unable to maintain their financial independence, this will only worsen.”
A joint statement from Women’s Aid, End Violence Against Women and several others warns Covid-19 will have serious impacts on the lives of women and children as “home is not always a place of safety”.
They said: “We know perpetrators will use infection control measures as a tool of coercive and controlling behaviour.
“Access to support for women and children may also shrink further due to social isolation and those in poverty will be severely impacted.
“Measures to decrease social contact are likely to have significant mental health impacts on the population, and this could be acute for survivors coping and recovering from trauma.”
They added that women will be “disproportionately impacted” by the coronavirus, as they are over-represented in the care sector, more likely to be in low-paid work, more reliant on social security and the worst impacted by poverty.
A government spokesman said they understand victims and survivors may feel even more vulnerable and urged anyone in immediate danger to call 999.
He added: “Advice and support will continue to be available to victims.
“The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is staffed by experts 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and the Government has announced a £1.6 billion Covid-19 fund for local authorities to support the most vulnerable.”
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE:
You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.